- December 30, 2014

2014: Year in Review


2014 was a challenging year. It was the year where having five kids, a website, and more freelance jobs than sense finally caught up with me.  It was the year where I tried giving up sleep to fit it all in. I had a lot of fun with the kids, but there was definitely a little exhaustion in the mix. This photo captures the spirit of our 2014 fairly well: happy, but a bit nuts.

Let’s focus on the happy part. Here are ten things that were awesome about 2014:

1. We won a bunch of awards! Free Fun in Austin was named Best Local Blog in The Austin Chronicle Readers’ Poll, Best Website in the Austin Family magazine readers’ poll for the third year in a row, and Best Online Family Event Calendar in the Austin Birth Awards! Yowza. You guys are the very best. Thank you so much for all those votes!

2. Emily, our calendar gal, did an amazing job. She managed the Free Fun Calendarwrote the What’s Up? Weekly roundup every Sunday, and still found time to pen incredible posts! Here are a few of my favorites: Scenic Strolls and Easy Hikes in Austin, Exploring Austin’s Street Art, Murals & Mosaics, and See What’s Growing and Thriving in Bastrop State Park.

3. We published our very first e-book!  You can download Family Fun in Austin for free – it’s our gift to you. I loved reading all of the sample itineraries for Austin outings and I hope you will too. 

4. I was on the news a lot, popping up on five different local programs. I may have enjoyed it a bit too much.

5. We were thrilled to continue our partnership with KXAN, picking the Top 5 Free Weekday Events and the Top 5 Free Weekend Events for the morning news each week.  

6. I had a lot of fun working as the True Austin local family expert for the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, and even got to speak at an Austin Concierge & Guest Services Association event.  Having a passel of kids gives you street cred!

From the Visit Austin, Texas website

7. The lovely ladies of LiveMom kept me moving forward. Seriously, people don’t come any nicer than Catherine and Nicole!  We worked together on countless projects and have more joint efforts planned for 2015.  Go like LiveMom’s Facebook page, even if you are not a mother. They have great content for Austin families. Plus, it’s Catherine’s goal to get 2015 fans by 2015 – your like will make her day. 

8. This year, Free Fun in Austin had more contributors than ever before. I am grateful for our regular writers (Catherine Avril Morris, Heather Schuck, Dawn Ambuehl-Sadek, Leigh Ann Torres, Emily Dieringer, Nicole Basham and Catherine Prystup) as well as our many guest contributors.  It was wonderful to read reviews of parks, playgrounds, swimming holes, museums, and plays, written by so many different local parents. If you’re interested in contributing in 2015, please email me at [email protected]

9. I accepted an invitation to talk about blogging to students at Columbia College in Chicago. I said very helpful things like, “Hey, college students don’t sleep anyway, so you might as well be blogging!”

10. Inspired by my friends, and fellow Austin bloggers, Kristin Shaw and Wendi Aarons, I submitted a proposal to the national conference Mom 2.0 and it was accepted.  I will be speaking at the 2015 summit in Arizona and I cannot wait.  It’s a huge honor.

Here’s to exciting new things, and hopefully a tad more sleep, in 2015!  I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a great year.  

P.S. Number 11 is you! Thank you for reading!